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Home >> World
UPDATED: 08:00, July 11, 2005
Luxembourg PM says EU constitution "not dead"
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Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean- Claude Juncker said the European Union(EU) constitution treaty is "not dead" after his country approved the charter with a clear majority in a referendum held Sunday.

"The message that has come out and which is addressed to Europe and the world is that the constitution is not dead after the votes in France and the Netherlands," Juncker told a press conference here right after the announcement of the referendum results.

"I am very satisfied and this is a great moment in terms of democracy, " the obviously relieved prime minister said, adding that "I was expecting a closer result".

Juncker's comment was also echoed by his predecessor and former European Commission president Jacques Santer.

He told xinhua that the result of the Luxembourg popular vote has sent "a positive message" to the rest of Europe that the treaty is still alive.

"It means that the constitution treaty is still alive and we should go ahead with the ratification process".

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso welcomed with "great satisfaction" Luxembourg's backing of the EU charter.

"It's a strong signal because it means that a majority of member states consider that the constitutional treaty responds to their expectations by opening the way for a more democratic, more transparent, more efficient and stronger Europe on the world stage, " he said in a statement.

In Sunday's referendum, the first after the Dutch and French rejections a month ago, the blueprint for the EU's future was backed by 56.52 percent of voters, with 43.48 percent against.

Some 220,000 eligible voters casted their ballots at 553 voting centers across the tiny country in west Europe.

The referendum in the Grand Duchy was also the first since EU leaders announced a "period of reflection" on the constitution at their June 16-17 summit. A number of EU member countries have postponed their ratification plans and threw the future of the charter into serious doubt.

A total of 12 countries within the EU have so far ratified the constitution treaty which is designed to streamline the EU's decision-making process after the bloc brought in 10 new members - mostly from central and eastern Europe - last May.

The document provides for the first EU president and foreign minister and incorporates certain fundamental rights into EU law.

The treaty has to be ratified by all 25 members for it to come legally into force.

Source: Xinhua

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